I.D. Buzz Cargo: VW’s New Mystery Machine For The New Age

  • The I.D. Buzz Cargo has a range of more than 340 miles according to Volkswagen. 
  • The 230V socket provides power for tools and other equipment without an additional generator.
  • When is VW going to release it? They didn’t exactly say . . . 

Volkswagen has this on again, off again thing in going with the reboot of their bus. You know, the Type 2, the hippie bus. They’ve gone through several iterations with this guy. All of them would be produced. But none of them ever were. However, VW says this one is for real.

It’s called I.D. Buzz Cargo. What is this? A cartoon character?

Building A Mystery

Well, it is kind of cartoon-ish looking, what with that snub nose and permanent smile on its face. And those huge expanses of bodywork on the sides are just begging for a Mystery Machine paint job. But if you put all that aside, you can see VW is serious with this thing. As they flatly state, the I.D. Buzz Cargo “has the potential to write history as one of the most advanced light commercial vehicles.”

That’s a big claim, but does VW have the specs to back it up?

The Buzz Cargo, like other vehicles in VW’s I.D. line, is entirely electric. The Buzz Cargo aims to be the urban delivery vehicle in the coming years – at least for smaller stuff, like packages from Amazon. Think of it as the “last mile” delivery vehicle from Tesla, if Tesla were one of the largest automakers on the planet.

VW I.D. Buzz Cargo. Photo: Volkswagen of America, Inc.

Payload & Storage

This concept (yes, it’s just a concept for now, but VW says they’re going to make it, honest, cross their hearts, pinky swear!) shows the path the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles division will take. Clocking in at 198.7 inches long, 77.8 inches wide, and 77.3 inches tall, the Buzz Cargo aims to be small on the outside – perfect for urban environments – while being big on the inside – perfect for hauling.

The rear overhang extends about four inches over the vehicle. Maximum payload is 1,760 lbs., or about the all up weight of a Lotus Elise.

The interior cargo space includes a shelving system, so there’s no sliding door on the driver’s side. The front doors and sliding door open electrically, via a sensor, which will come in handy. Essentially, the I.D. Buzz Cargo recognizes authorized persons via a digital key sent to the van by smartphone.

The I.D. Buzz debuted at the 2017 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan. “The Volkswagen brand’s big electric offensive begins in the year 2020 with a completely new vehicle architecture,” explained Dr. Herbert Diess at the time, Chairman of the Board of Management for Volkswagen. “That is when we will be launching an entirely new generation of fully connected, all-electric vehicles to the market.” Photo: Volkswagen of America, Inc.

Autonomous Capability

Instead of two single seats up front, there’s a driver’s seat and a double bench-seat on the front passenger side. The middle section of the bench folds down, serving as a work space with an integrated laptop. If the driver is using the automated “I.D. Pilot” mode, work can even be done on the move, since the I.D. Buzz Cargo aims to be fully autonomous. The driver can activate the Level 4 autonomous mode by pushing on the steering wheel for a few seconds. The steering wheel then retracts into the instrument panel.

Once in autonomous mode, the driver’s seat turns 15 degrees to the right in order to work better with that laptop. While on the move, they can handle bills of lading and paperwork, and all that other stuff delivery people have to sort through.

Think of it as the last mile delivery vehicle from Tesla, if Tesla were one of the largest automakers on the planet. Click To Tweet

Augmented Reality

Important information projects onto the road in 3D via an Augmented Reality heads-up display. The information remains in the driver’s line-of-sight, allowing them to concentrate on road conditions. An integrated tablet controls the infotainment and climate functions. The main driving controls are located on the steering wheel.

The rear view mirrors are gone, replaced by cameras projecting images onto small screens in the cab of the I.D. Buzz Cargo.

VW I.D. Buzz Concept interior layout. Photo: Volkswagen of America, Inc.

Does The I.D. Buzz Cargo Deliver?

Other nifty distinguishing features include the new solar roof. This photovoltaic system generates enough power to extend range by up to 9.3 miles per day. The longer this thing is in the daylight, the further it can drive, which should make fleet managers happy.

Add all this up and combine it with the I.D. Buzz Cargo’s 340 mile range, and you have a very usable option for urban delivery services. Of curse, the question, yet again, is will VW be serious this time. I bet they are. After the diesel-gate scandal, VW has invested in EVs big time. And they’re smart enough to realize there is plenty of money in the commercial sector.

Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format. His forthcoming new book The Future In Front of Me, The Past Behind Me will be available soon. Follow his work on Twitter: @TonyBorroz

Photos & Source: Volkswagen of America, Inc.

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